Bulloch Local Government

RUNDOWN: Statesboro City Council – 09/07/21

The Statesboro City Council met for the first regular council meeting in
August on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The following agenda items were discussed:

You can find supporting documents for the agenda items here.

Call to Order – Councilwoman Paulette Chavers was not present.
Invocation & Pledge of Allegiance
Public Comment on Agenda Items – No public comments were made.

Consideration of a Motion to approve the Consent Agenda
A) Approval of Minutes
B) Consideration of a motion to approve the due date of December 20th 2021 for the
City of Statesboro Property Tax Bills

Both approved unanimously.

Public Hearing and Consideration of a motion to approve Resolution 2021-33: A Resolution setting the millage rate for ad valorem (property) taxes for the 2021 calendar year for the city of Statesboro, Georgia at 7.308.

City Manager Charles Penny made a brief presentation on this matter. He said the increase in taxes was not the council taking action to increase taxes, but instead came from new construction and such. He said the city will yield an additional $150,000 for the city. “It’s a natural occurrence in the market,” Penny said.
More coverage on that issue here.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve the affordable housing plan for the City of Statesboro Georgia.

Earlier this year, the City contracted with the Coastal Regional Commission to develop an affordable Housing Plan. At the May City Council Workshop Meeting, a draft of this report was reviewed with the City Council and subsequently reviewed with the City’s GICH (SHARC) Committee.

As a requirement for grant applications to the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), an approved Affordable Housing Plan is needed. Approval of this Plan will make the City more competitive in the application process for the above referenced grant opportunities.

This was approved unanimously.

Consideration of motion to approve an Intergovernmental Agreement between Bulloch County, City of Statesboro, Bulloch County Board of Education, Georgia Southern University, Ogeechee Technical College, City of Brooklet, and the Towns of Portal and Register relating to maintenance of county-wide P-25 radio system. Contract is one year with four additional one-year renewal terms.

Bulloch County and the four County municipal corporations entered into SPLOST IGA July 31, 2018. Portion of SPLOST funds was to be used to establish countywide P-25 radio system and provide compatible radios to local jurisdictions. All issues regarding radio provision have been previously settled. Present IGA relates to terms of use, County responsibilities relating to operation and maintenance of the radio system, and pro rata allocation of these maintenance and operation costs based on number of radio units used by entity.
Budget Impact: 2021: $127,673 (of $494,190 in total costs)

This was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve the acceptance of the 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), which has been awarded to the Statesboro Fire Department.

The Statesboro Fire Department has been award $35,000 of the $151,000 requested. The Statesboro Fire Department was only awarded funding for one (1) of the three (3) projects submitted with this application (Continuation of the Fire Department Physician Program). The Fire Department Physician Program has proven to be extremely beneficial to the Fire Department and its members and acceptance of this grant will help ensure the program remains in place

The relevant stipulations of this accepting this grant is a 10% cost share to be paid by the City/Fire Department. For the amount awarded the City/Fire Department’s financial obligation would be $3,181.82. The amount of federal funds that would be received would total $31,818.18. Staff is confident that the cost required by local match obligation can be absorbed by the Fire Department’s annual budget which would require no additional allocation of funds

The motion was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve the acceptance of the 2020 FP&S Grant which has been awarded to the Statesboro Fire Department.

$14,000 grant for an electronic fire extinguisher simulator. The city will have a 10% grant match.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve the award of contract to Hawk Construction for the construction of classrooms and a use of force/de-escalation “laboratory” at the joint Sheriff’s office/Police department range training facility in the amount of $66,210.00. Funding for this project is from the CJCC grant proceeds.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve payment to Stacy Underwood, LLC (dba Uncle Shug’s, 434 South Main Street) in the amount of $29,235.02 for sign relocation and construction easement acquisition. Expenses will be paid from TSPLOST funds.

The South Main Street Streetscape project proposes to improve drainage and utilities, reconstruct the sidewalks and landscape the Right-of-Way (ROW) from Tillman Street to Fair Road. Per GDOT policy the City of Statesboro is required to certify the ROW is clear of obstructions to perform construction for the streetscape improvements. Business signs located within the ROW of South Main Street must be relocated onto private property. In the case of Uncle Shug’s the only suitable location to relocate the main sign is the center of the parking lot, which requires restriping of the parking lot. The business also has entrance signs at each driveway that are impacted. The attached sign relocation agreement addresses these terms and includes compensation for related impacts and relocation expenses.

In addition, to improve pedestrian safety and access control along the project the streetscape design requires the closure of one of the existing driveways at the subject property. This will limit the number of driveways to two and will impact internal traffic circulation pattern resulting in additional restriping of the parking lot. The attached temporary construction easement addresses these terms. As is customary in many such agreements when the owner does not seek compensation, the minimum compensation for this easement is set at $1. It should be noted that the owner, Stacy Underwood, did not seek compensation for this easement and related work because the City agreed to his sign relocation terms.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve a Memorandum of Understanding & Agreement with Georgia Southern University for development of Akins Boulevard, Phase 2.

Georgia Southern University seeks to continue extension of Akins Boulevard from Tormenta Way through the “South Campus” to connect with the existing spur of Akins Boulevard that intersects with Lanier Drive. At the May 5, 2020 meeting city council approved an MOU for phase 1 of construction of Akins Boulevard.

That phase of work, from Veteran’s Memorial Parkway to Tormenta Way, is expected to be completed soon. As noted upon execution of the MOU for the first phase, due to the unique nature of this project mutually serving both the University and the City, staff from both entities have prepared the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow the two entities to partner on the construction of Akins Boulevard. This phase of work will be funded directly by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Georgia Southern will provide project management for the project and any necessary matching or additional funds necessary for completion.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Other Business from City Council

Councilwoman Shari Barr asked if they were going to discuss vaccine incentives, which City Manager Charles Penny said he would discuss during his reports.

City Managers Comments

CANCELING EVENTS DUE TO COVID

Penny said if the infection rate stays at 27%, he would like to get guidance on how the city should proceed with events. Staff recently denied an event permit because they don’t want to endorse super spreader events. “We should be doing social distancing and what not,” Penny said. He said if they’re happening on private property but requiring lots of public resources, it’s a problem.

McCollar said that while the initiatives are great but in the current climate, it’s not wise. “My opinion is with these numbers where they are, it would be unwise.” Referencing the current situation and the Downtown Kickoff slated for October, McCollar said if the numbers remain the same, it would not be wise.

Penny told council that the Statesboro Farmer’s Market is not an issue but the upcoming Taste of the ‘Boro may be, even though it’s outside. “Any time you have to block off roads, that’s a staffing issue.”

Councilman Phil Boyum said a few hundred people downtown is nothing compared to 17,000 people at Paulson Stadium or a high school football game, implying canceling would be hypocritical. “If it’s a staffing issue, that’s one thing. If we can’t staff it, we can’t staff it. But otherwise…”

Councilwoman Shari Barr said, “Well, we don’t control college football games.”

Penny said he wasn’t trying to cause problems, he just wanted to be able to have conversations with sponsors of the events and wants guidance from council. No action was taken.

ARPA FUNDS

  • Penny wants the council to consider using ARPA funds to establish a food bank. $500,000 would be used to get the program off the ground.
  • $1.5 million would be used for housing rehabilitation under the new affordable housing plan with an additional $1 million for scattered site analysis.
  • $3 million for water and sewer funding for the communities that need water and sewer services
  • The remaining funds of the $6.1 million would be used to make up losses incurred by the city.
  • Statesboro will receive another $6.1 million in 2022 but doesn’t need a firm plan on how to spend those funds until 2025.
  • There is no plan to return any of the $12.2 million to the federal government but instead to spend all $12.2 million “to improve the lives of people in Statesboro.”

VACCINATION INCENTIVES

Penny said Staff did more digging and found out that the city is not authorized to do a drawing for gifts and winnings, which much be authorized through a 501(c)3.

He said they will continue with the gift card giveaways at the next vaccine clinic on September 18.

Laptops, game consoles, and other items the city had discussed giving away to 12-17 year old children to encourage kids to put pressure on their parents to get them vaccinated are off the table for now.

Councilwoman Venus Mack said she would like to pursue having a 501(c)3 organization help with the city vaccine incentives.

Boyum made a motion to purchase another 168 gift cards to give away, which was approved unanimously.

Public Comments (General) – No public comments were made.

Consideration of a Motion to enter into Executive Session to discuss “Personnel Matters” “Real Estate” and/or “Potential Litigation” in accordance with O.C.G.A 50-14-3(b)

There were no executive session agenda items.

Consideration of a Motion to Adjourn – The meeting adjourned at 9:56 AM

Jessica Szilagyi

administrator
Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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